Who: Lykke Li

Where: Neumos

When: Wed., October 29, 2008

In case you haven't heard of her, Lykke Li (pronounced Lick-ee Lee) is the latest

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Last Night: Lykke Li at Neumos

Who: Lykke Li

Where: Neumos

When: Wed., October 29, 2008

In case you haven't heard of her, Lykke Li (pronounced Lick-ee Lee) is the latest Swedish indie-pop act to attempt a stateside crossover. Admittedly, it’s easy to be cynical about every cute new female singer-songwriter flooding the genre. But I'm absolutely in love with her debut album Youth Novels. It's full of introspective—and totally sexual—lyrics set to a complementary background of sparse instrumentation and gentle beats.

She was here a couple months ago and I missed the show, so it's nice to see she's still furiously making the rounds to promote the album. She's not too well-known yet. I saw Li meandering outside Neumos puffing on cigarettes a couple hours prior to going onstage unrecognized by passerbyers. "Hey Lykke!" I shouted (subtlety is not my strong suit.) "Hah-lo!" she replied in a totally cute Swedish accent. For a moment I considered giving up men and asking her on a date.

I was surprised with how packed Neumos was when we get inside. People were crammed in wall to wall. Loads of hipsters. Last night actually marked my first visit to Neumos and I was unaware that at hipster-heavy shows there exists a cardinal rule: don’t fucking move. You apparently aren’t supposed to dance and you sure as hell aren’t supposed to make your way through the crowd to go to the bathroom or get a better view. You get loads of dirty looks. I felt like a criminal. Lighten up! Swedes always make the catchiest damn music! ! Enjoy it! I get bored standing like a statue during a live performance.

Anyway. Li exudes this delightful quirky vibe and has loads of good set material. In songs like her gorgeous breakthrough hit “Little Bit,” she laments her vulnerability in a hapless relationship: “For you I keep my legs apart/And forget about my tainted heart/And I will never ever be the first to say it’s still a game over.” She performed a flawless rendition of the song that initially got people buzzing about her music. Li also did a lot of bizarre frenetic moving around to songs like, fittingly “Dance Dance Dance” and “I’m Good, I’m Gone.”

The guy in front of me nodded approvingly. “She’s just like Stevie Nicks,” he announced. Huh? Were we at the same show? Li was a solid enough performer, but she’s still got to polish up her act and better command the stage—something that will surely come the more touring she does. She’s only 22 after all.

 
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